Take ten brass, luxurious arrangements, add an inspiring leader, and a magical blend of friendship and musicianship and you are just scratching the surface… Join Tine Thing and her fantastic tenThing dectet as they pay homage to the large brass ensembles past while charting a whole new course. “Five!” tm, the chamber music interview series, doubles down on this fantastic “ten-tet”-Enjoy…
- Please introduce us to the members of the group.
1. Trumpet, Tine Thing Helseth: World renowned trumpet soloist.
2. Trumpet (Eb), Maren Tjernsli:
Works as a trumpet player in the Norwegian Army Band, also work as a conductor for a school band and gives trumpet lessons.
3. Trumpet (C and Bb), Guro Brnstad Kraft:
Work as a freelance trumpet player, who enjoys playing in many different genres, and have worked with many of the major orchestras in Norway.
4. Flugel horn, Elin Kurverud:
Professional brass pedagogue and work with talent development at Barratt Due Institute of Music. She is also instructs and conducts Torshovkorpset, a band for people with special needs.
5. Horn, Lena Wik:
Work as a freelance orchestral horn player, and have worked with many of the major orchestras in Scandinavia and Germany.
6. Tenor trmb, Ingeborg Klovholt:
Is a brass pedagogue and school band conductor, in addition and work as a freelance trombonist, and play in different kind of chamber music ensembles and orchestras.
7. Tenor trmb, Froydis Aslesen:
Is a brass pedagogue, conductor and play in different kind of ensembles, both classical and jazz.
8. Tenor trmb, Tone Christin Lium Rossland:
Is a brass pedagogue, instructor, conductor and is also working as a freelance trombonist.
9. Bass trombone, Astri Karoline Ellann:
Is a brass pedagogue, work as a freelance bass trombonist, play in different kinds of orchestras and ensembles and work in the talent development department of Kongsberg Kulturskole.
10. Tuba, Karin Nordli:
Is a brass pedagogue and spend her time teaching and conducting a new generation of musicians.
2. tenThing is a great name. did it inspire the number of players? & It is not quite a double quintet, Why a third tenor trombone, and not a second French horn?
TenThing is a play on the name of Tine’s surname. Her name is Thing, and we are 10 players, it also reflects that we are a classical brass ensemble in the standard formation of Philip Jones brass ensemble (4 trumpet, 1 french horn, 4 trombones and 1 tuba).
3. How do you handle the trumpet rotation in the group? Are there Bb or A piccolos, g cornet, or Eb trumpets involved? We use 2 C trumpets, 1 Eb and 1 flugel horn. We use Eb trumpet instead of piccolo because we find the sound of Eb trumpet blends better in the section. Occasionally we also use Bb trumpet. The flugel horn is used as a connection between the trumpet section and the horn.
4. How big of a deal is chemistry? Tine, which musicians have you known the longest and the least?
Chemistry is everything! Even though we have very different personalities we give each others space to be ourselves. The core idea is that everyone have equal value, and we support each others to be safe both off and on stage.
Tine: The four trumpet girls came up with the idea of the ensemble, and invited some friends to join. It started as a fun project, and it still is 😉
Lena is the newest, but she’s been with us for 7 years….
5. Which brass groups have been your inspirations? (More than 6), Large:
Philip Jones Brass ensemble
Mnozil brass German Brass
& Smaller (Less than 6)
Brazz Brothers (Norwegian Brass quintet)
In general, we have got a lot of inspiration from the many different kinds of string ensembles around the world.
6. Who handles the arrangements, and how much do you keep the audience in mind when selecting them?
We our very own arranger, Jarle Storkken, who arranges all of our music. Tine trusts her gut feeling when it comes to selecting music! It’s all about finding a mix of music audiences knows very well, and music that audience will remember and fall in love with. Trying to find a balance between the genres as well.
7. Is the “British Style” band instrumentation big in Norway? (Cornets, baritones, euphoniums, Eb and Be tubas, etc…) & why did you choose a more traditional orchestral instrumentation? Standard British brass bands are very popular in Norway, mentioning Eikanger-Bjorsvik musikklag and Manger musikklag who have both the European championship several times. Many of the members in tenThing have played in brass bands. As we studied to be professional musicians on brass instruments it was natural that the ensemble ended up to consist of traditional orchestral instruments.
8. Given the spectrum of everyone in a tuxedo or uniform, to everyone dress as a different character, where do you find your current thinking heading on how to dress an ensemble?
We try to keep to a category of color codes and try break up the traditional way of dressing for classical concerts. The main point is that we don’t wear anything that will disturb the musical expression.
9. How do you handle rehearsals? Is there one or two people in charge, a collaborative effort, a rehearsal conductor?
Tine is leading is leading the rehearsals, and she has the overall artistic responsibility. However the other members of the group also come input for things they feel need attention.
10. Ken Amis, of the Empire Brass, has striven to learn more about playing for non-musicians. Does this concept resonate with you?
We want the audience to have a enjoyable concert experience regardless of them being musicians or not. With this in mind we sometimes break the barrier between the stage and the audience and actually walk among them while playing. We havent given this a specific thought, but we play music we would like to listen to ourselves, which results in reflection about how to balance the program.
11. When forming the group, and replacing people as they move in and out, what characteristics are you looking for in a person/musician? Implicit that the musician has a high level on her instrument we look for a person that will fit in our social environment. This is an aspect that is very important since when we are on tour we live basically on top of each others.
12. Your set up included the basses at the center, and the soloist on the outer profile. Did this come naturally, or was it the result of trial and error? It was a very natural choice to have the bass section in the middle as we dont have percussion, the basses are many times in the role of driving the tempo, and all the musicians need equal connection to this engine of the group. In addition it solves a lot of tuning issues.
13. Your video presentations have very high production and editing values. Can you talk about the importance and challenges of high quality video presentation? We have been in the very lucky situation where different tv productions have been made for us, which resulted in very high quality video presentations. By ourselves we have limited knowledge and technology to make high quality videos, having these professional videos give us an important marketing tool where people can from all over the world see us as a serious ensemble. Today the quality of live recordings from phones are good enough for us to send out little teasers to our social media platforms.
14. Tine, this was an inspired idea. Can you address the fruits of pursuing an idea and investing your time and talent, and how it has paid off?
It’s incredible to think about where this ensemble started and what it is now. We had our first concert on my 20th birthday, and it’s been an amazing journey since that. TenThing has absolutely shaped me as an artistic leader. I’s been a challenge that has made me grow as a musician and leader. The feeling of the sound and musical trust that we have in our ensemble is something ‘m very proud of! My solo schedule is of course quite busy, but I’m very happy that we get to do a couple of tours a year! It’s been incredible to bring my friends (that’s what they are basically!) to places all around the world and share concert stages I normally visit on my own.
15. How do you divvy up duties within the group, who handles what? We have 1 person for social media platforms, 2-3 persons for planning with management and budget, we also have one person to search and apply for funding for certain projects (to for example lower the costs of transport/ logistics) and Tine is the artistic leader of the group.
16. Your arrangements seem fresh, and often use restraint, alternating between a few voices and the collective. Is this a conscious choice? Our arranger Jarle Storlkken is making all the choices for these kind of musical decisions and it always works very well, even though it sometimes stretches the limits of the player. But we always rise to the challenge.
17. MEMORIZATION! What a commitment, but also an enhancement in performance experience and the visual aspects of performance. What did it take to have 10 people memorize a set of brass music? All the players have their own preference of learn music by memory, so we all do our homework as best as we can before we start rehearsing. And in the rehearsal we have a lot of run throughs of the music in question in order to learn the others parts so you can recognize our personal part.
c. 2019 David William Brubeck All Rights Reserved www.davdibrubeck.com
Images courtesy of: www.tinethinghelseth.com www.muenchenmusik.de www.bbc.co.uk
Interested in chamber music? Check out more from “FIVE!” tm, the chamber music interview series…
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